How to Renovate on a Budget

When it comes to renovating a house, the sky’s the limit - and the costs can be too!

But if the bones of your house are good, your place may just need a bit of a facelift to make it sparkle again.

Here are a few budget-friendly ideas.

1. A new paint job

Of all the home renovation jobs you can do, painting is the best value for money. You can transform your house using our airless sprayer, allowing large areas to be painted very quickly and evenly.

For corners and edges, it can be tiring climbing up and down a ladder with a 10-litre tin of paint in one hand and the brush in the other, so take the time to set up properly. Some decent ladders and trestles or scaffolding will make the job safer, easier and more enjoyable.

Good preparation is the key to a good painting finish. Use a steamer to remove wallpaper and adhesives. Fill in any cracks or holes in the plaster then sand. Scrape off any loose paint from woodwork (a paint burner may be useful) and finish using an orbital sander

Good paint is expensive but bear in mind that with a top brand you may only need two coats (one primer/undercoat/sealer and one top coat) while you may need three coats of an inferior brand.

One further tip to save money: paint is much cheaper when you buy in bulk so pick a colour you can use throughout the house. No wonder shades of white are so popular! You can even use the same colour on the ceilings.

2. Brighten up kitchen cabinets and internal doors

There’s one other place where a quick paint job can be miraculous. Chipped, scratched, dull interior doors, cupboards and kitchen cabinets detract from the overall appearance of your house. Transform them with a coat of bright gloss paint.

Use a good primer/undercoat to cover imperfections and provide a good base for the topcoat. Finish the job with new handles for a very quick, affordable and effective makeover.   

3. Replace your lighting

Replacing outdated light fixtures can have an instant impact on the look of your home. You'll have to factor in the cost of an electrician for the installation, but you can save money by shopping around or buying just one or two statement pieces for key areas like the living room and kitchen.

4. Update your flooring

Shabby carpets, torn vinyl, or dull timber floors detract from a house. There are lots of floating floor options that you can install yourself, from timber and vinyl to cork and bamboo.

New carpet will set you back a couple of thousand dollars, but it could be that an ugly old carpet is hiding beautiful old floorboards. If you discover Baltic pine or Tasmanian oak floorboards when you rip up the carpet, you’ve hit the jackpot.

There’s a bit of work to do to bring the floor up to scratch – remember it wasn’t designed to be on show – but the job is well within reach of DIYers.

First punch in all the nails so that when you sand the floor they don’t rip the sanding belt. Fill the nail holes with timber filler or putty, along with any larger holes in the floor.

Now for the sanding. Use an upright floor drum sander for the main area, a smaller edger for edges, wardrobes, cupboards and stairs and an orbital floor sander to finish.

You can seal the floor with an oil-based varnish or polyurethane, but you won’t be able to walk on the floor for several days. A water-based polyurethane is quick drying and you can be back in the house by evening, although you will have to be careful of the floor for several days more.

In more modern houses, you’re more likely to be dealing with a concrete floor underneath the old carpet or tiles. Burnished or polished concrete floors are also extremely popular and you can achieve this look yourself.

Once again, your concrete floor probably wasn’t designed to be seen so there’s a bit of work to be done. If the floor has been tiled, there will be a residue of adhesive left behind. A concrete grinder can get rid of residues and surface imperfections.

A concrete burnisher generates heat to melt the floor coating compound into the pores of the concrete surface then buffs the surface to a fine, smooth finish for that minimalist, industrial look.

Need to hire reno equipment? The team at your local branch of Kennards Hire is always ready to help with advice and the right tools for the job!